Yesterday, we had a discussion about post-feminism in one of my university seminars. First of all, there is no general definition of the term post-feminism. Nevertheless, most researchers would agree that post-feminism is characterized by a declining interest in feminism. Especially young women do not call themselves feminists because they think they are equal. They think that they have the same rights and can make the same choices as men. For them, feminists are radical women who only complain and want to have a better life than men.
During my time in Prague, I had the chance to visit the Franz Kafka Museum. Kafka’s life demonstrates that multicultural societies are nothing new in Europe. Kafka was a Jew. His mother tongue was German. He was born in the Czech Republic. He died in Austria. Despite the lame rhetoric of racist and populist politicians, Europe was always home to people with fluid identities.
From childhood on, we develop our individual personality. Especially, in Western countries it is essential to stand out. To have the best degree, a successful career, the most exciting hobbies and the coolest friends.
At the same time, people are more and more unaware of the collective reality. We are all made of the same substance and guided by the same eternal power. But human beings started to produce their own reality.
This individual reality is a very destructive one. As bigger as societies get, the more they can live independantly and suppress others. They are able to distance themselves from others. To destroy, hate and discriminate them. Divide and Rule.
As long as the world is not a place where equality is possible, the chaos will remain. Without balance, there is insecurity, hunger and depression. Only a collective conciousness is able to prevent the world from a total destruction.
A human being is defined by space and time. The heart beat is like a ticking clock. It will stop one or the other day.
The human mind is obsessed with time. When a baby is born, it has to develop according to a certain time frame. If it does not walk or talk at an appropriate time, it is unhealthy. If a country has not reached the standard of modernity, it is underdeveloped. By thinking about time, the individual is asking: What do I do with my time here? What do I want to achieve?
Fast food, rapid transit, short trips, high speed. The neoliberal lifestyle is obsessed with speeding up the public life. It is hard to find somebody who is not “very busy at the moment.”
In contrast, the self-help gurus are finding followers by preaching a slow-movement in the private sphere. Concious consumption, spend time alone, take care of the nature.
The only time without any speed limit or slowdown effect remains eternity.
Growing up in the post-war era of West Europe, I had a peaceful and comfortable childhood. So far, the biggest change of my generation’s lifestyle was probably the internet. Technology is everywhere now. And it helps to organize most parts of daily life.
It created new opportunities and it is an easy tool to reach out to others. Education can be spread around the world and the internet inspires in many different ways.
But it also makes us more dependent on software programmes and the capability of machines. If they are broken or if we don’t understand the way they work, we realize how much freedom we have lost. Most jobs depend more on trained technical skills instead of what we can offer as an individual person. The wonder about being a human being is less fascinating. Our attention is drawn to machines.
I like to pause sometimes and ask: What can I find within myself after such a long process of human evolution? How did my ancestors live? What can history teach me? Languages, art, philosophies, society structures and so on…
Machines are great but they tend to neglect our human potential. Their limits should not become ours. Maybe they are the crafts of our times, like our ancestors used bows and arrows. It might be an improvement, but we should also remember to think about ourselves: who we are and who we want to become.
Through my childhood days, I began to sorround myself with books, movies and music. I felt very close to the rebels of society. The artists and their work spoke to me.
I was inspired by them and needed to find ways to overcome my superficial lifestyle. After my graduation, I moved out of my parent’s house and landed in different corners of the world. I met many people and I had to face myself through them. I had to present myself. I had to find out what they think about me and what we had in common. I understood that we all have the same emotions and face similar problems. And we are drawn to people who are like us.
I found pieces of me in all of my friends, and I realized that we can find them in everyone. Disagreements happen because others don’t act the way we want them to. They are not a copy of us. They are a reflection of us and we are all a reflection of humanity.
When we talk about walls, we usually think about walls made of stones in Israel/Palestine, in Cyprus or the one between the US and Mexico. In my perception, the highest walls are inside our own communities. Every year, they are getting higher and higher. The separation of people is the worst crime, a destruction of the human family. It is not about your nationality, your age, your skin colour or your sexual preference, it is about your income. You can live wherever and how you want if you have the money in your pockets.
The fight is not somewhere out there, it is happening in every city. Through the incrising wealth of some chosen people, all governments are driving their citizens into a dangerous living situation. Especially unemployed young men are taking over the power, they are ruling the neighborhoods. The citizens are left alone. Many of them do not leave their homes after dark anymore. Drug trade, prostitution and corruption are following. They became an attractive business for the youngsters who want to avoid feeling suffocated in a three piece suit, working like a rat in a labyrinthian concrete jungle.
Meanwhile the rich dwell within self contained gated communities on the flip side of the city. There are obvious signs that the rich harbor mistrust of their neighbors. They are fearful, someone could steal their posessions in the next minute. It is raising the question: does wealth really set you free? Or does it force you to live in a golden cage?
Cities are becoming a construction of social separation. Everywhere, we are slowly becoming our own self-made jailers.